Network security refers to the confidence that unauthorised users cannot access the information and services available on a network. Security implies safety. It assumes data integrity, freedom from unauthorised access of resources and freedom from disruption of services. As far as security is concerned, we need to protect both physical and abstract resources, such as information. Protecting the latter is more difficult.
Attacks on your company’s IT resources are inevitable. Therefore, if you only believe your network is secure, you could be placing important data at risk. You have to know. Reliable network security takes setting up defenses based on the assumption that the network has already been penetrated. Working from this mindset forces you to ensure that your data can’t be stolen by attackers from the corporate network.
Types of network security
Not every user should have access to your network. To keep out potential attackers, you need to recognize each user and each device. Then you can enforce your security policies. You can block noncompliant endpoint devices or give them only limited access. This process is network access control (NAC).
2.Antivirus and antimalware software
“Malware,” short for “malicious software,” includes viruses, worms, Trojans, ransomware, and spyware. Sometimes malware will infect a network but lie dormant for days or even weeks. The best antimalware programs not only scan for malware upon entry, but also continuously track files afterward to find anomalies, remove malware, and fix damage.
Any software you use to run your business needs to be protected, whether your IT staff builds it or whether you buy it. Unfortunately, any application may contain holes, or vulnerabilities, that attackers can use to infiltrate your network. Application security encompasses the hardware, software, and processes you use to close those holes.
To detect abnormal network behavior, you must know what normal behavior looks like. Behavioral analytics tools automatically discern activities that deviate from the norm. Your security team can then better identify indicators of compromise that pose a potential problem and quickly remediate threats.
5.Data loss prevention
Organizations must make sure that their staff does not send sensitive information outside the network. Data loss prevention, or DLP, technologies can stop people from uploading, forwarding, or even printing critical information in an unsafe manner.
Email gateways are the number one threat vector for a security breach. Attackers use personal information and social engineering tactics to build sophisticated phishing campaigns to deceive recipients and send them to sites serving up malware. An email security application blocks incoming attacks and controls outbound messages to prevent the loss of sensitive data.
Firewalls put up a barrier between your trusted internal network and untrusted outside networks, such as the Internet. They use a set of defined rules to allow or block traffic. A firewall can be hardware, software, or both.
8.Intrusion prevention systems
An intrusion prevention system (IPS) scans network traffic to actively block attacks. Appliances do this by correlating huge amounts of global threat intelligence to not only block malicious activity but also track the progression of suspect files and malware across the network to prevent the spread of outbreaks and reinfection.
9.Mobile device security
Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting mobile devices and apps. Within the next 3 years, 90 percent of IT organizations may support corporate applications on personal mobile devices. Of course, you need to control which devices can access your network. You will also need to configure their connections to keep network traffic private.
Software-defined segmentation puts network traffic into different classifications and makes enforcing security policies easier. Ideally, the classifications are based on endpoint identity, not mere IP addresses. You can assign access rights based on role, location, and more so that the right level of access is given to the right people and suspicious devices are contained and remediated.
11.Security information and event management
SIEM products pull together the information that your security staff needs to identify and respond to threats. These products come in various forms, including physical and virtual appliances and server software.
A virtual private network encrypts the connection from an endpoint to a network, often over the Internet. Typically, a remote-access VPN uses IPsec or Secure Sockets Layer to authenticate the communication between device and network.
A web security solution will control your staff’s web use, block web-based threats, and deny access to malicious websites. It will protect your web gateway on site or in the cloud. “Web security” also refers to the steps you take to protect your own website.
Wireless networks are not as secure as wired ones. Without stringent security measures, installing a wireless LAN can be like putting Ethernet ports everywhere, including the parking lot. To prevent an exploit from taking hold, you need products specifically designed to protect a wireless network.
1.Set alerts to prevent incomplete defense
Your IT perimeter is flexible; it does not necessarily end at your firewall. For example, critical data might reside in the cloud, on a business partner’s system, or in a SaaS application. Because of this, simply monitoring the network firewall is incomplete defense. Instead, you need to know where your private data is, and protect it at the source. To accomplish this level of network security, limit which users and applications have access to the data, and set alerts so you’ll know who accessed the data, from where, when, and what they did when they accessed it.
2.Set up a log management system
Log files provide the most useful data that identifies inappropriate access or a breach. The problem is that a multitude of devices and software generate log files, making it virtually impossible for a human to manually scan them all. Therefore, set up a log management system, and program it to identify unusual activity. Add an intrusion prevention system (IPS) and an intrusion detection system (IDS) to separate network noise from evidence of a breach. Many popular network security appliances now offer these functions at a reasonable cost.
3.Log files for Ecommerce sites
If your ecommerce site is a dedicated virtual machine or hosted server, generate log files that will identify the users logging into the nonpublic portions of the website. Attackers might use authentic login credentials, but if you set the audit system on your server to identify when and where the login originates, you’ll know when an attack is under way. Specifically, this red flag is someone logging on using valid credentials from an unknown or unexpected IP address.
4.Employ adaptive authentication
Select and install network security applications that use adaptive authentication. This allows you to create a virtual “fingerprint” or “snowflake pattern” of approved mobile devices. Start by using multifactor authentication software for mobile devices. Then, build a profile of who uses a given device, what they access, when they access it, and the like. That way, if the device is lost or stolen and an attacker logs in, the authentication software will recognize inconsistencies on how the device is used and alert you to the breach.
5.Explore defense in depth network security
Even under the assumption an attacker is already in the network, you still need to continue using common defensive measures. This includes antivirus or antimalware software and maintaining a properly configured firewall at the perimeter. Defense in depth — sometimes called layered defenses — is the way you want to go. Reason being, this kind of network security is essential to identifying a breach when an attacker gets past a firewall on the perimeter router. Keep reading for specifics.
Install multiple firewalls within the network, segregating confidential data from less crucial information. These additional firewalls — also requiring different credentials — can stop an attacker and identify that a breach has occurred. At the very least, this slows down the attacker from reaching your intellectual property.
7.Two-factor authentication software
Design the network so only authenticated systems can access non-public parts of your ecommerce site or business network. Your best bet is two-factor authentication software, readily available for small to midsize businesses.
Two-factor authentication software generally requires the user to have a smartphone or other device that can accept an SMS message or phone call with a special code. This code ensures that the user, whose phone number or email address is already in a white-list database, is the same person who is trying to access the server.
The software bars any attackers who do not have the second half of the authentication login from accessing your data. However, it’s still possible for them to defeat it. So what’s the use? Implementing two-factor authentication in different layers of the network and requiring different second-factor authentication can identify the attacker, along with the credentials the attacker used to access the network originally.
8.ICAM software and three-factor authentication
Identity, credential, and access management (ICAM) software is an important component of ferreting out unauthorized access of data, be it from an outside attacker or a rogue employee. The key is making sure each layer of the network security onion has different credential requirements. This includes:
Something the person knows such as a password.
Something the person has such as a physical token or an authenticated smartphone that permits access to specific data.
Biometrics such as a fingerprint reader or retina scanner.
Two-factor authentication uses two of these components; three-factor authentication uses all of them.
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